Dismissal for SOSR (Ordinance 30) - Managers' guidance

1. Introduction

Occasionally the University may contemplate terminating an employee’s employment for a reason that does not sit within its other procedures. Whilst these situations are varied, the purpose of Ordinance 10, section 6 is to provide a common framework for addressing these issues consistently. 

The purpose of this guidance is to assist managers to implement Ordinance 10, section 6. It follows that this guidance should be read in conjunction with the Dismissal for Some Other Substantial Reason Procedure (Ordinance 10, section 6) and the Operating Principles (Ordinance 10, section 1)

This guidance does not cover termination of employment at the end of a fixed-term contract even if that termination falls under Ordinance 10, section 6. For guidance on the termination of fixed-term contracts refer to the FTC Manager’s Guidance.

2. Manager’s Responsibilities

Where a Manager is considering dismissal under Ordinance 10, section 6, it is their responsibility to: 

3. Support and Guidance

HR teams will provide guidance and support to all parties involved in the operation of the procedures prescribed by Ordinance 10, section 6 and Ordinance 10, section 1, point 1.6. 

Trade Unions may advise their members on all aspects of this procedure, and may represent/accompany individuals at meetings (see Ordinance 10, section 1, point 1.12).

4. Establishing the Reasons for Contemplating Dismissal (Ordinance 10, section 6, point 6.1)

It is important that prior to taking any action under Ordinance 10, section 6 the Manager takes the time to review the position, seeks advice from HR and considers whether there is any further information that is needed before inviting the employee to a meeting under point 6.3 of the Ordinance. In rare cases (Ordinance 10, section 6, point 6.2(i)) no meeting will take place). 

In most cases the Manager will already be aware of the factors that have given rise to the consideration of dismissal, for example, where an employee is absent from work due to being imprisoned.  In circumstances such as these although there may be additional inquires which the Manager may need to make before inviting an employee to a meeting under point 6.3 of Ordinance 10, section 6 such inquiries will not normally amount to an investigation such that an investigator needs to be appointed. 

Similarly where an employee’s honorary contract is suspended or their registration is revoked the University will usually have been involved in the NHS investigation under the Follett principles and the Manager will therefore be aware of the investigation that has taken place into any allegations against that employee under their honorary contract. Whilst in such circumstance the Manager must satisfy themselves that the NHS acted reasonably. In these circumstances, it will not usually be necessary to conduct another investigation. 

However whenever a Manager considers that there has been a breakdown in mutual trust and confidence they should seek advice from HR to establish whether it is appropriate to use this procedure rather than, for example, Ordinance 28 and consider appointing an investigator to explore the matters complained of.

5. Suspension

Depending upon the circumstances that have led to contemplating dismissal a Manager may consider that suspension is appropriate. 

Managers do not have the authority to suspend an employee, this can only be done by the HR Director or nominee. If a Manager considers in any particular instance that suspension might be appropriate they must obtain advice from their Faculty HR Manager who will refer the matter to the HR Director or nominee. 

Whilst suspension is normally paid, where an employee has made themselves unavailable for work by being, for example, imprisoned whether on remand or serving a prison sentence thought should be given to whether suspension without pay is appropriate; however this decision will ultimately rest with the HR Director.

6. Investigations (Ordinance 10 section 6, point 6.2)

Not all investigations are the same, it is not therefore possible to prescribe exactly how an investigation should be carried out. The nature of the investigation will depend upon the matter being investigated. These guidelines are therefore suggestions as to how an investigator might proceed with an investigation. 

Before commencing an investigation the investigator (with advice from HR) should consider the reason why the Manager is contemplating dismissal under Ordinance 10, section 6 and the remit of the investigation which will normally include considering: 

Having established the remit of the investigation the investigator will normally:

HR will where appropriate: 

Having completed the investigation the investigator will: 

7. The Meeting (Ordinance 10, section 6, point 3)

It is important to remember that the employee is likely to be worried about attending a meeting under Ordinance 10, section 6 particularly as they will be aware that dismissal is a potential outcome.  Therefore the Manager’s first responsibility is, as far as possible, to put the employee at their ease and conduct the meeting in an open and transparent manner. 

(a)      Prior to the meeting (Ordinance 10, section 6, points 6.3.1 - 6.3.2)

(b)      The format of the meeting

The Appropriate Manager should explain to all those present at the meeting how the meeting will be conducted. The usual format of the meeting is set out in Appendix 1

(c)        At the meeting

The Manager may: 

(d)       Considering the decision

The Appropriate Manager will consider all information and evidence that has been presented and any mitigating circumstances put forward by the employee. HR will advise the Manager in the particular circumstances of the case which options are available to them, which may include: 

Appendix 1

The usual format for the hearing will be: